Remember the time your lover couldn’t keep his hands off you? And now, it seems, his hands are strictly for holding the remote, and he has eyes only for the TV.
What went wrong? Besides the fact that lifestyles today are more stressful than ever (a definite romance buster), most relationships go through predictable phases – from intense passion to a warm friendly glow to possible eventual indifference.
All couples, however, do not end up with indifference towards each other. Some even retain intense romance and passion for as long as they live. These relationships are not instances of chance or luck – the continued intimacy is a result of working on the relationship and not giving up on each other when the things look bleak.
If you are looking for more than just “holding on” to each other out of habit and wish to rekindle the flame of the early days of your romancing, here are some tips that will help you reach that goal:
Chores and additional responsibility: The greatest difference between the dating days and the living together days is the drastic change in responsibility levels. Money matters, household chores, and decision-making are the major areas of conflict.
For instance, you have never discussed who does what around the house, and when you see your partner sprawled on the couch while you are hard at work, it angers you. The best way to sidestep this hurdle is to work on communication. In this example, it would help to discuss division of chores and responsibilities before you start living together. Also, discuss money matters beforehand – who will spend on what, how much will be saved etc. If one partner puts in efforts to save money, and the other partner spends lavishly, the relationship is heading towards troubled waters. When we stop communicating, resentment builds up.
Resentment: Unresolved issues lead to bitterness and resentment. And when we resent our partner, we tend to start shutting him/her out of our lives. This is the beginning of indifference. Snip indifference in the bud by recognizing its signs and talking about the unresolved issue. Seek a closure.
Fitness & Health: High profile and highly demanding careers mean that we have little emotional energy to “give” at the end of the day. When both partners feel this way, they may end up snapping at each other for non-issues. And if you have been neglecting your health by eating junk food and not exercising, you feel constantly exhausted and irritable. So when both partners maintain a healthy (and fit) lifestyle, it helps their relationship.
Babies: Some say that the greatest test of the health a relationship is how it survives the entry of the new family member – the baby. Newborns can add to the stress of an already stressed relationship. If you don’t want your relationship to fall apart on account of the baby, make sure you are working on it before the baby is born – again, the key is open and honest communication.
Familiarity: At some point in the relationship we get comfortable enough with each other to burp in front of each other. This familiarity sometimes extends to not opening doors for our partner, and not carrying bags for her – little courtesies are forgotten. Even if we are comfortable with each other, behaving in a gentlemanly manner (or ladylike manner) when the occasion demands, keeps the romance alive.
Bickering: Most bickering is a reflection of a bigger problem – it is never really about the socks on the floor or the toothpaste tube cover- it is about how these gestures show that you don’t care enough about your partner to put in the effort. Bickering only increases your frustration because while the issue does not get resolved, you get labeled a “nag”. Talking in a constructive and positive manner about what bothers you is the best way to sidestep bickering.
Always remember to talk in a place that is free of distractions such as the TV or the baby. And while we’re going on about honest communication, remember the golden rule of speaking to your partner – it never hurts to be diplomatic. We’re saying, “be honest”, but that does not equal “be harsh”. Talk in a considerate, gentle and positive manner; and your partner will reward you by being responsive. And that is the beginning of rekindling the romance.